100 word review: Osiris, by E. J. Swift

100 word review: Osiris, by E. J. Swift

I came to this first-in-a-trilogy after reading its sequel Cataveiro – there isn’t much in the way of spoilers and it’s perfectly comprehensible. Osiris is a city at sea, cut off from a world presumed dead. It’s overcrowded but Osiris’ hereditary families live lives of unimaginable luxury whilst the western poor struggle, staying awake at […]

100 word review: Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle

100 word review: Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle

This is an odd creature of a book: it’s based around Trace Italian, a massive turn-based story game, created by a recluse who became terribly disfigured as a young man. Imagine Zork, but played by post. The world and the game sound fascinating as the story uncovers the past of Sean Phillips – it’s not […]

100 word review: Delete, by Kim Curran

100 word review: Delete, by Kim Curran

These books shouldn’t be my thing, but I enjoyed this very much. The first two were enjoyable in the way that you could watch the craft of the writer evolve – the second book just felt more polished than the first – and Curran’s Glaze is a triumph, but this took me by surprise. The […]

100 word review: The Fever, by Megan Abbott

100 word review: The Fever, by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is the queen of creepyweirdawfulcompelling. The last book I read of hers made me want to take my skin off and scrub the inside of it clean before putting it back on – this one’s no different. An illness taking hold of girls in a school – it could be an STD or […]

100 word review: Department 19: Zero Hour, by Will Hill

https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/18590476-zero-hour The fourth in Will Hill’s excellent Department 19. Horror and action aren’t really my cups of tea. NEVERTHELESS I’m a fan of Will Hill’s books. They fill the gap that can be read as “mindless fun”, but they’re more than that. The crux of the story: Van Helsing et al were real – and […]

100 word review: Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer

100 word review: Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer

Lou Merriweather is a psychopomp in 1860s San Francisco: She’s androgyne, (allegedly) unattractive, mixed-race Chinese and English, and she unhaunts houses for a living. The first scene shows us her personality: a bit of a rogue, and a woman who isn’t afraid to be mistaken for a man. She has to leave San Francisco, however, […]

100 word review: The Incorruptibles, by John Hornor Jacobs

100 word review: The Incorruptibles, by John Hornor Jacobs

Beautifully enjoyable dustpunk (very) weird western: In an alt-American-Western setting, instead of science you have demons bound up. They heat water for steam. They expand and push bullets. They may – or may not – corrupt a bit of your soul each time you use it. Jacobs has honourable mercenaries riding alongside a ship filled […]

100 word review: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

100 word review: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

In Victorian England, a famous Reverend scientist has secrets, and a personal shame. He has a series of sickly sons, most of whom have died, and the last of whom is writing left-handed. He is driven away from his home by scandal. His daughter, Faith, remains steadfast despite any evidence she has against him. She […]

100 word review: Day Four, by Sarah Lotz

100 word review: Day Four, by Sarah Lotz

Sarah Lotz is disgustingly good, and the worst part of it is how easy she makes it look. This is a follow-up to The Three and, while it’s definitely in the same creepycrazywtfisgoingon universe, the story is built in a completely different fashion – told from the point of view of a handful of central […]

100 word review: The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu

100 word review: The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu

This is a debut. It is massive in scope, telling the story of the rise and fall of empires, using classical Chinese storytelling tropes and wuxia heroes. It is breathtaking in its language and ambition. 640 pages of instructive fable and myth and history of a fictional series of countries at war with each other […]